Government procurement agents will soon be looking for suppliers and vendors to help them accomplish the projects funded through Biden’s Infrastructure Bill. With potentially $2 trillion on the line, vendors will want to do everything they can to stand out among the crowded supplier marketplace. One of the things that can help in securing and reporting any diversity classifications for which your business has qualified.
What are diversity classifications?
These are special programs that note that your business is owned and operated by an underrepresented group. While it does take a bit of extra work, securing a diversity classification can help your business become more appealing to procurement agents. Many agencies have supplier diversity programs, which basically guide their organizations or departments in their inclusion goals. This can help ensure that underrepresented groups can secure government contracts. A diversity classification is an official way to show procurement agents that your business would help them meet these goals as well as fulfill the needs of the project.
How do you know if you qualify as a diverse supplier?
For a company to qualify for a diversity classification, the general rule is that 51 percent of the company is owned and operated by a member(s) of an underrepresented group. There are several certification programs and organizations that can help you identify yourself as a diverse supplier, and then these certifications can be included in your upcoming bids. Here are a few you may want to consider:
8(A) Business Development (BD) Program is offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and aids companies owned and controlled by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals.
Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) is offered through the SBA and aids companies in industries where women-owned businesses are underrepresented.
Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) is offered through the SBA and gives support to small businesses in economically struggling communities.
Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) is offered through the VA and supports veterans with priority bidding, tax relief, and extra resources and training to advance their business prospects.
Disability:IN is a nationally recognized certification program for business enterprises owned by people with disabilities (DOBE®), business enterprises owned by veterans with disabilities (V-DOBE®) and business enterprises owned by veterans disabled during service (SDV-DOBE®).
National LGBT Chamber of Commerce offers a nationally recognized certification to business enterprises owned by members of the LGBT community (Certified LGBTBE®) and aids businesses with corporate and government network connections as well as educational opportunities and skills development.
Start the certification process now
If a diversity classification is a right fit for your business, you’ll want to get the process started as soon as possible. Procurement agents that are looking to not only hire the most qualified vendors but also meet their supplier diversity and inclusion goals will appreciate seeing your certification in order and included in your bid. These classifications can take some time to secure, so while well worth it, you’ll want to start early to make sure you’re ready to include them on your bids once the bill is passed.
Does your business qualify for a diversity classification? How will you make sure that your certification is completed before bidding for Infrastructure Bill projects?